A Comparative Study with regard to Swiss Law on the Effect of the Adoption System on the Best Interests of the ChildAyşen Çilenti Konuralp
The adoption system under the Turkish Civil Code differs from the process under the Swiss Civil Code in many respects. Contrary to Swiss law, Turkish law has not adapted the full adoption system; instead, it maintains a simple, mixed legal system that incorporates aspects of the Swiss adoption system into Turkish law. Consequently, the filiation relationship between adopted and biological family continues in Turkish law, and the adoptees have the right of double heirship. This, however, can interfere with bonding between the minor and the adoptive parents because of continued emotional bonds with the biological family which limits the expected benefit from adoption. Legislator have recently amended the Swiss adoption system toward further benefit of the adopted minors, for instance by incorporating more careful evaluations of children’s psychological status as well as that of the adoptive parents during the adoption process. The absence of such amendments in Turkish law raises the question of whether the Turkish adoption system is sufficient for the best interests of the child. Thus, the legal problem worth discussing in terms of the legal status and the best interest of the child under Turkish adoption system rises. For this reason, the preconditions of adoption and the legal consequences for adopted children are here examined in relation to children’s best interest.
Evlat Edinmeye İlişkin Düzenlemelerin Küçüğün Menfaatine Etkisi Üzerine İsviçre Hukuku ile Karşılaştırmalı Bir DeğerlendirmeAyşen Çilenti Konuralp
Türk Medeni Kanunu’nun benimsediği evlat edinme sistemi, birçok açıdan mehaz İsviçre Medeni Kanunu’ndan ayrılmaktadır. Türk hukukunda İsviçre hukukunun aksine tam evlat edinme sistemi benimsenmemiş ve sınırlı evlat edinme sisteminin uygulanması devam ettirilmiştir. Böylece İsviçre hukukunda benimsenen evlat edinme düzenlemelerinin, Türk hukukuna sadece bazı yönleri ile alınması sonucunda karma bir sistem yaratılmıştır. Bunun bir sonucu olarak Türk hukukunda evlat edinilen ile biyolojik ailesi arasındaki soybağı ilişkisi devam etmekte, evlat edinilen çifte mirasçılık hakkı elde etmektedir. Bu durum özellikle evlat edinilen küçüğün biyolojik aile ile duygusal bağının kopmaması sonucunda evlat edinen aileye uyum sağlayamaması ve evlat edinme işleminden beklenen yararın elde edilememesi rizikosuna neden olur. Zira evlat edinme işleminin temel amacı küçüğün menfaatini korumaktır. Üstelik son yıllarda İsviçre hukukunun evlat edinme sistemi evlat edinilen küçük yararına daha da değiştirilmiştir. Küçüğün menfaatini esas alan bu düzenlemeler, gerek evlat edinenlerin statüsünü dikkate almak gerekse evlat edinilen küçüğün evlat edinme işlemi sonrasındaki psikolojik durumunu daha dikkatli değerlendirmek yönünden oldukça olumlu düzenlemelerdir. Türk hukukunda bu yönde değişiklikler yapılmaması, TMK’nın evlat edinme sisteminin küçüğün yararı bakımından yeterli olup olmadığı sorusunu gündeme getirir. Bu durum, Türk hukukunda benimsenen evlat edinme sisteminin küçüğün hukuki statüsüne ve menfaatine etkisi bakımından tartışmaya değer bir hukuki sorun yaratır. Bu nedenle evlat edinmenin şartları ve evlat edinilen küçüğe yönelik hukuki sonuçları, küçüğün menfaati ile ilişkilendirilerek incelenmelidir.
Adoption is a legal institution that creates an “artificial” filiation relationship between the adopted child and the family. This legal structure distinguishes between the understanding of family based on genetic affiliation and the understanding of family based on social intimacy. The filiation established by adoption is not based on genetic ties but is established directly by the judge’s decision allowing the adoption. The purpose of adoption as a way of establishing filiation is to give people who do not have biological children the experience of being parents, including passing on inheritances, and most importantly, to give children who cannot grow up with their parents the chance to grow up in a family order.
Articles 305 and 320 of the Turkish Civil Code (TMK) regulate the conditions and consequences of adoption, including detailed provisions that protect the best interests of the adopted children. The articles codify strict conditions for adoption that reflect legislator’s understanding of protecting the child’s best interests (Kindeswohl), since the principle of the child’s best interests dominates child law and family law on many terms.
TMK, which came into force in 2002, was mostly created by translating obsolete provisions of the Swiss Civil Code (ZGB), which Turkish law doctrine heavily criticized. Today, adoption under Swiss law has changed fundamentally following extensive ZGB amendments in 2003, 2012, 2013, and finally 2018; with the 2018 amendment the Turkish and Swiss adoption systems diverged greatly. Turkish law adopted simple adoption (Teiladoption), rather than a full adoption system (Volladoption) which entails differently regulating the legal consequences of adoption, especially the legal status of adopted minors. This hybrid system of original Turkish law provisions intertwined with the translations from Swiss law is criticized because it contains many regulations that are inconsistent. For instance, critics argue that if legislators intended to take ZGB as an example, they should have considered the law as a whole because it is open to debate how or whether these TMK regulations serve a child’s best interests. This precondition means that the child’s interests supersede those of both biological and adopted parents, which are only considered if they are directly linked to and affect the interests of the minor. Child’s best interests here means that the conditions resulting from adoption must improve the development of the minor.
ZGB Art 267/1 expressly enacts a full adoption system under which the adoptee’s filiation to biological family is terminated and the minor enters into a filiation relationship with the adoptive parents; this in turn gives an adopted child identical legal status to that of any biological children of the adopted parents in terms of name, citizenship, place of residence, maintenance, child support obligations and inheritance. Consequently, the filiation relationship of the adoptee with biological parents terminates completely. The inheritance relationship between the adoptee and his biological family ends. A mutual inheritance relationship is established between the adoptee and the adoptive parents. This structure break all ties between adopted minors and their biological families, allowing them to integrate into their new families without the interference from their past. It is clear that this structure serves the best interests of the child, which is the main aim of adoption of minors. Thus, in Turkish law, which adopts the simple adoption system, the best interest of the child is not protected in proper manners. For this reason, Turkish lawmakers must amend the above regulations to eliminate such gaps in the legal protection status of adopted children considering their best interests.